Garden season is here, and with it comes the eternal question; prune now or prune later? If the answer is "prune now", are your tools sharp and ready?
"Pruners should be sharp, with no rust or dirt on the blades," says Tina from Gracias Greenhouse at the Northville Farmers Market. "You don't want your plants to get funky or to spread disease by using dull or dirty tools. Sharp tools make clean cuts. You don't want to "drag and rip" when you're pruning."
"If you're not sure when or how much to prune, check with one of the growers or Master Gardeners here," says Nick from 2nd Nature. "Pruning is important and sharp tools are much safer to work with. You don't need to apply as much pressure, so the risk of slipping, making a bad cut, or bloodshed is much less."
Kathy and Gary Toler, owners of NEVER DULL sharpening service come to the Market every week. They recommend an annual check-up, cleaning and sharpening of garden tools, especially loppers and pruners. "Wipe off the blades, check and oil the screw," says Kathy, "but don't oil the blades during the spring. That will make them sticky and they will collect and spread insect eggs and plant diseases easily."
With over five years of experience sharpening blades of all kinds, NEVER DULL serves five farmers markets including Northville, several restaurants and a variety of other businesses year round.
As they worked at the Market, Kathy and Gary told stories about their business. One of their most challenging sharpening jobs was from a woman who brought them the round, dime sized blade from her electric can opener. "That was a job for real steady hands and a pair of needle nosed pliers," said Gary. The story of the man who wanted his lawnmower blades sharpened, and came riding in on his lawnmower--blades still attached--got a laugh from the onlookers. Two children grew wide-eyed at the size of a French chef knife as Gary started to work on it.
So relax, put off the pruning a little longer and bring your tools and knives to the Northville Farmers Market on Thursday. Have the blades cleaned and sharpened while you shop, chat or have lunch.
Prune now, or prune later--but prune with clean sharp tools-- NEVER DULL.
See you at the Market!